By Kieran Rooney, Sarah McVeigh
The Queensland Party wants the state parliament to reinstate its upper house in order to ensure politicians’ honesty, despite some academics’ opposition to the plan.
Queensland Party leader Aidan McLindon said draft legislation for a new house will be introduced in the next month.
But QUT political expert Doctor Mary Crawford said the plan is a media stunt.
“The people of Queensland rejected the idea of an upper house a long time ago and I think there is a general view that we already have too many politicians for the population,” she said.
“I think this is really just a ploy to differentiate the new party from the others.”
She said a new house would cause more problems than it would solve.
“Many people in New South Wales and Victoria would still see the upper house as inhabited by people who perhaps have done less community work than others and who are more creatures of the political process rather than the community process,” she said.
Doctor Crawford said many safe checks are already in place to stop corruption.
“Of course at the end of the day the ultimate scrutiny is in the voting system and in ensuring that it is fair and straightforward and that democracy is at work and that people have an opportunity to vote and to speak very quickly about who and what they will elect,” she said.
University of Queensland government and administration expert Professor Kenneth Wiltshire said the introduction of an upper house is not a realistic option.
“It could create a lot more accountability but it’s not going to work in Queensland because the parliament itself is not very effective at all,” he said.
“In Canada none of the states or provinces has an upper house and I think those provinces work very effectively.”
He said a more effective lower house would save taxpayers money and time.
“What we need to do is make the existing house far more effective.
“The role of an upper house is normally to be a house of review and we could turn our existing house into a better review mechanism, rather than creating an upper house.”
Mr Wiltshire also said state power can be balanced by increasing the role of local councils.
“The Bligh government and the Beattie government have treated local governments dreadfully, absolutely hopelessly and they are starting to take away a lot of their powers,” he said.
He said local government needs to be strengthened in order to reinforce effective democratic process.